CANADA STOCKS-TSX hits 2-1/2-week low as miners drag

Fri May 16, 2014 4:37pm EDT
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* TSX falls 73.83 points, or 0.51 percent, at 14,515.06
    * Nine of 10 main index sectors decline
    * Goldcorp, Teck follow bullion, copper prices lower

    By John Tilak
    TORONTO, May 16 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index
slipped on Friday to its lowest in about 2-1/2 weeks as sluggish
commodity prices weighed on shares of materials companies in
below-average trading volume ahead of a long weekend. 
    Investors appeared hesitant to take major positions before
the weekend, with the market scheduled to be closed on Monday
for the Victoria Day holiday.
    The market digested government data that showed foreign
investors sold C$1.23 billion ($1.13 billion) worth of Canadian
securities in March, the first divestment this year, while
domestic purchases of overseas assets hit a 16-month high.
    After climbing nearly 7 percent so far this year, the
benchmark stock index slipped in the last three sessions and
ended the week lower.
    "There's this tendency to take some money off the table
ahead of a long weekend," said Elvis Picardo, strategist and
vice president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver.
    "It's a reality check," he added. "You really need a
catalyst to send the market much higher from here."
    Picardo is positive on the prospects for the Canadian equity
market over the long term and expects the TSX to outperform the
S&P this year.
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index
 was down 73.83 points, or 0.51 percent, at 14,515.06.
Nine of the 10 main sectors on the index were in the red.
    About 242 million shares changed hands, compared with an
average daily volume of about 301 million shares in April,
according to Thomson Reuters data and figures from market
operator TMX Group.
    The materials sector, which includes mining stocks, dropped
as gold, silver and copper prices slipped in choppy trading.
    Goldcorp Inc was down 1.4 percent at C$26.74, and
Teck Resources Ltd shed 1.1 percent to C$24.63.
    Financials, the index's most heavily weighted sector, gave
back 0.8 percent. Manulife Financial Corp lost 1
percent to C$19.87, and Royal Bank of Canada fell 0.5
percent to C$72.84.

 (Editing by W Simon and James Dalgleish)